From Publishers Weekly
In her 11th appearance (after 2000's Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam), irrepressible amateur sleuth Agatha Raisin has, alas, lost her sense of humor. Finally married to the love of her life, neighbor James Lacey, Agatha soon realizes that what she hoped would be a happy modern marriage in the idyllic Cotswold village of Carlsey is anything but. First, James explodes with anger when she turns his laundry pink, then expresses vehement disapproval when she serves a Marks & Spencer's prepared lasagna for dinner. Finally, when each is sure the other is having an affair, James goes missing, leaving only blood stains behind. Determined to find him, Agatha and her friend, Sir Charles Fraith, begin an investigation that leads them to the discovery of the body of Melissa Sheppard, James's suspected mistress. Delving into Melissa's past life reveals two ex-husbands and an estranged sister, all with motive to kill. Beaton has been praised for bringing the traditional British cozy into the 21st century, but an up-to-date village setting is not enough. Without the wit and humor of prior outings that made the characters human, Agatha is unforgivably and inappropriately rude and sharp-tongued, the parsimonious Sir Charles is repetitively stingy beyond belief and James is just unreal. Stereotypical minor characters further disappoint. This one is strictly for invested fans. (Dec. 10)(Forecasts, Jan. 8) and the Hamish Macbeth series.
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What makes readers love Agatha Raisin? Is it her jealous rages? Inability to quit smoking? Beady little bearlike eyes? Or perhaps it's her insistence on keeping the silly Raisin name, whatever her marital status. Somehow this cranky middle-aged dame's many flaws only make her more appealing. In her latest adventure, one of the most suspenseful tales in the series, Agatha is struggling to settle into married life with James Lacey. Although they have separate cottages, they still can't manage to get along. Agatha is outraged when James is spotted cozying up to his ex-lover, Melissa, and causes a scene that the small British village of Carsley will not soon forget. Soon after, Agatha finds Melissa dead and James vanished--after leaving some of his blood on the cottage floor. Village tongues wag even harder when Agatha's friend and former lover, Sir Charles Fraith, returns to help her find James and identify Melissa's killer. Among the many joys of all Agatha Raisin adventures are Beaton's sweetly formal prose and her vivid descriptions of colorful villagers. This one, however, adds a crackerjack plot and a delightfully comic ending to the mix, making it clearly the best of the lot. A must for all cozy fans. Jenny McLarinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved